It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…or so they say. I must admit that for years, I was one of those Christmas Elf types who spent days decorating the house, weeks buying just the right gifts and then wrapping them into the night after everyone else had settled in for a long winter’s nap. I spent hours in the kitchen cooking everybody’s favorite holiday goodies and even found time to write out a zillion Holiday cards. In one year’s burst of insanity I created handmade, themed wreaths for my own family, my mother, sister and sister in law! Of course I was a few years younger then and perhaps shy a few critical brain cells. But through it all, like everyone else, I would declare, “It’s my favorite time of the year!” I think that could more accurately have been said, “It’s my favorite temporary insanity.”
Let’s face it, the holidays do offer the opportunity for joyous family time but they are also exhausting and fraught with gatherings that offer fertile soil for the resurgence of family feuds, eating all the wrong foods, drinking too much alcohol and not getting enough sleep. And heaven help you if you have suffered some kind of loss and you are in emotional pain.
For many people, the first or second holiday season after a major loss, is painful, dark and lonely. Whether the person in question has lost a relative to death, a spouse to divorce, their health or mobility, or even a job to retirement, the pain of loss is never more evident than when everyone around you, seems to be filled with joy and cheer. In truth, many holiday grievers put on a happy face to appear joyful and excited at holiday time, because it’s easier than telling people they’re in pain. These masked grievers might exist within your own family, or you might be one of them and the truth is there’s no reason to be a victim to the Holiday Blues. There is help available for you and in my upcoming posts I will be sharing many ideas with you as to how you can turn your Holiday Blues into Holiday Bliss.
Let’s remember that grief is a genre, not an emotion. Grief can encompass fear, sadness, hopelessness, anxiety, confusion, sleeplessness and so many other manifestations. So what do we do when we are feeling these not so cheery emotions and it’s the Holidays?
It’s important to experience the painful feelings connected with our grief. It’s part of the healing process. Even if it looks to you like everyone else is happy and bright, it’s only their outsides you are seeing. Don’t get caught up in comparing your insides to other people’s outsides.
Remember that feelings were made to be experienced and passed through us, in order to make room for other feelings. If we don’t express our feelings their energy gets stuck inside us and that never works out in a pretty way. Emotions wreak havoc when we stuff them down, they don’t behave politely, so cry those tears, pound those pillows and release your pain and shock. The only way out is through. However, the pain and depleted, saddened state, should not become a way of life. In addition to addiction to the brain chemicals released when we experience emotions, people can become addicted to the attention that comes with being in a victim state. It’s not positive attention but it is still attention and for those who feel unloved or invisible…that attention can become very seductive.
Bottom line: experience your pain with safe people, feel it and let it move through and out of you. Do not become a monument to despair!
In the meantime let me offer you immediate help in the form of a FREE digital copy of my best selling book, Grief…When Will This Pain Ever End? Just go to Paulashawbook.com and get your book. It’s chock full of helpful info and processes that work and you can cull through them without having to read the entire book because I know you’re busy and distracted these days. Give it a go. It’s FREE…So you have nothing to lose but your Holiday Blues!
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PAULA SHAW, CADC, DCEP is an author, Energy Psychology specialist, therapist, speaker, Reiki Master and Grief Counselor. For more than 20 years, Paula has been passionate about empowering people who are dealing with profound loss, so they can reap something truly beautiful from their pain. She also helps clients who are going through major life transitions or seeking freedom from self-destructive addictions. She has degrees in Education and Communications from Long Beach State University, as well as graduate counseling credentials from Loyola Marymount University. She is one of the founding members of the Association of Comprehensive Energy Psychology and currently serves on its board of directors. Paula is the author of Chakras, the Magnificent Seven (2002), as well as "Grief...When Will This Pain Ever End?" Finding Your Way out of the Pit of Despair After Profound Loss.
Former Blog Archive
Thank you for reading Paula's Blog. Because our site moved in June, we were unable to transfer all of our blog posts over. You can however, read the rest of them by visiting our old blog site. HERE